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Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

You could combine a trip up to these cairns with a visit to Pen-y-Gaer hill fort, but I didn't fancy the long walk back, so I went back to the car and drove closer and walked from there.
There, being the small dead end lane that runs west/east south of the mountain. I parked the car in an unused and overgrown gateway, so far so good, but then the footpath marked on my map has disappeared, it says the path goes past a farm house called Llethr-ddu, so I trust in the ordnance survey and go that way, despite a complete lack of footpath signs and stiles, I felt a bit trespassery here, but I tuned it out and concentrated more on the scenery. Mostly the scenery consists of The Rivals, ie; Tre'r Ceiri and Mynydd Carnguwch, the loveliest of all Welsh hills.
As I leave the farm house behind me I'm passing along some old walls with frankly massive boulders in them, dismantled dolmens I'm sure.... not.
Getting higher, the hill fort I went to earlier rises above the near horizon, provided by Moel Bronmiod, itself topped with, no, not a cairn but a large Dartmoorish rocky tor, I'd quite like to be up there, but you cant go everywhere at once, though I've heard of a man who knows someone who can.
As I get up towards the top the ground gets distinctively more rocky, progress can be quicker and easier but more dangerous, i'm about 9/10ths of the way up and my daughter sends me a text saying were going out for tea with Grandma, I've got three and a quarter hours to get home, well screw that I decide, an intense flurry of texts ensue, a bizarre thing to be doing in such a place as this, and problem sorted, they'll all wait for me to get home. I am the man.

One tenth further on and i'm confronted with two of the best yet badliest? treated hill top cairns I've ever had the pleasure to behold.
Some dense twat has built two walls over them, clearly and depressingly out of the cairns themselves.
The big cairn has a wall run right through it, either side of the wall is a canyon where the stones have been stolen.
The smaller cairn has two walls meet right on top of it, making photographing the whole cairn impossible. One side of a wall has a very small amount of cairn, it was this bit I saw first, I thought "hunh?" then looked over the wall and saw much more on the other side, but a wall runs through that as well. All very bad.
The culprit should be chastised, extremely chastised, take a moment, stop reading and think of something horrible we could, nay should do to him, it was bound to be a he, probably American.

But it's not all bad, despite the intrusions the cairns are still there, large and comforting, and the stone that has been robbed hasn't gone far.
I decide a walkabout is now due, so I skip lightly across towards the summit, I've also decided that getting to the rocky toppest of Gyrn Ddu's summits, can wait for another time, but just below it is a grassy knoll that would make a good place to get the big cairns with all of Snowdonia behind, plus another cairn is over this way, if it's not too far I'll go take a look.
It's probably about now that I should mention the view from up here, it's pretty good.
Nope, I cant do it, the view is impeccable, the eyes are glued to the Lleyn peninsula, The Rivals vie for attention among themselves, the over quarried one losing every time. Mynydd Carnguwch, is the sweetest most perfectly shaped hill in the known world, it fits in the vision like something soft and warm in the hand. Wow.
Time to go, I skirt around Gyrn Ddu's summit until the the other cairn comes into view, it is indeed too far, a quick zoom through the camera and I'm away, stumbling with shaking legs, not looking forward to the frantic drive home, but so glad I took the time to get over to this under achieving part of North Wales.

I was right to be not looking forward to the drive home the A55 has of late been over ridden with cars going no where important, and three road accidents had to be gotten through, who is passing these idiots, any idiot can pass his test, but not anyone can remain incident free for 25 years and still be doing five times as many miles per year. Grumpy!

Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn) (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

I parked the car on the drive up to Tyddyn-mawr farm, not as bad as it sounds, there was a load of big black silage bags to hide behind, there was no one around, and the driveway doubles as a bridleway, or so my map says, there are no signs saying so. Besides the fort is only half a mile from here, and I've got to walk through the farm to get there, if I see anyone I shall have a word, but I didn't, so no problem.
In fact I never saw anyone on the hills all day long, but then this is quite out of the way for Snowdonia, if it's in the national park at all.
After passing through and over several gates i'm out on the hills, I cant see the fort now because of big rocky outcrops to the forts south, so I make for these. From here I had a good look about, far to the south is Tremadog Bay, further west is the Lleyn peninsula, and just below me a fox rushes through the bracken chasing down some lunch. Not bad.
From the rocks it is a short but steep walk up to the fort. Two Buzzards circle above me, screeching at each other, or me.
It was hard going, but eventually I'm at the top, I can see my car far below, despite it's lack of redness, it looks more than half a mile.
Firstly I go directly to the top, and sit, but i'm plagued by large furry bee like flies, theyre so slow I can knock them out of the sky with my hand, god there's loads, they're like flies round, no wait that wont work.
I abandon the summit and take my tour of the defences, at the north end the stony ex wall has got covered in grass, but as I move along the grass is gone and a wide spread of iron age walling, that does not stand at all, moving on.
Far below me I can see the hut circle marked on the map but uncharacteristically I checked Coflein before I left and found it to be Roman, so I didn't go down, which was good because I couldn't be arsed.
Next is the fairly obvious entrance, facing west to the next hill along Moel Bronmiod.
Modern walling stands on top of the ancient fallen spread of wall at the southern end of the fort. Also at the far south end of the fort are a few hut circles, or rather circular platforms cut into the hills slope, some have big stones where the entrances are. I only saw three or four, Coflein says there's a dozen or so.
There are no fortifications on the east side, it is far too steep to storm the fort from here, from below it looks like any tall rocky hill, the big impressive wall faces only west, Tre'r Ceiri, the city of giants is that way.
Moel Y Gest hill fort is visible south east over near Cricceth.
Carn Bentyrch, Carn Fadryn, Carn Boduan are a few other forts seen from here.
Absolutely cracking site with epic views all round.

Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn) (Hillfort) — Images

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Gyrn Ddu cairn (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Gyrn Ddu cairn</b>Posted by postman

Gyrn Ddu cairn (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Coflein says....
A disturbed round cairn, 13.1m in diameter and i.52m high, having a lesser cairn set upon its summit.

Postman says....
I didn't go over because time had run out, far too much sitting around gawping. It is over half a mile from the bigger pair to the east, as such I've added it as a separate site. None of the cairns are at the summit of Gyrn Ddu but rather on lower subsidiary peaks.

Tre'r Ceiri (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Tre'r Ceiri</b>Posted by postman

Mynydd Carnguwch (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Mynydd Carnguwch</b>Posted by postman

Garn Bentyrch (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Garn Bentyrch</b>Posted by postman

Yr Wyddfa (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Yr Wyddfa</b>Posted by postman

Carwynnen Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

No fieldnotes since the re-erection, how very odd.

I parked at the gate by the big fancy "look what we did" information board, and took a slow walk down to the dolmen, we had the place to ourselves but the roar of many children playing in the woods drowned out all but the most steadfast of thoughts.
It was a gorgeous evening and we would soon be treated to another jaw dropping Cornish sunset so I decided we would stay until the glorious end, the show would not be over til the fat lady had sung her song.
The stones looked lovely in the setting sunshine, and definitely look better standing up, they did a pretty good job, it's doubtful I'd have come to see a pile of stones half covered in nettles, but this is very good, natures helping out though.
By all accounts, well just one really, this dolmen has a complicated floor, other smaller stones still lie around unexplained, the curve of angled pebbles at the front? of the dolmen are remnants of the paving, or so I'm left to presume, over 2000 finds from the dig and now there's a time capsule down there too.
Almost unbelievably the archaeologists say that the stones were never covered in a mound of any sort, but that you could walk under it even in the neolithic, I cant believe that, an open air burial chamber ?, burial chambers are supposed to keep the remains of the illustrious departed safe, it would be like building a car with no wheels, a plane with no wings, an interstellar mission with no murderous robot. Nope.
We're interrupted a couple of times by photographic opportunists from what looks to be a caravan site in the adjacent trees, but we're sitting at the front on the purpose made sitting stone, out of the way.
Here it comes, the sun is going down, (photo) going, (photo) going (photo) gone.
There are three clumps of nettles that seem not to have been mentioned by the sustainable trust, each clump has a squarish pit dug into the ground and in each pit is a large stone. The only thing I can come up with is Sweetcheat mentioned a nearby stone circle once, I think, maybe it was a dream.
Just like my whole time in Cornwall.

Nine Maidens (Troon) (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I parked by a field gate just down the road from the gate you have to climb over to get to the stones. Over the gate and the stones are easily seen about a hundred yards away by the far field wall. I neither sprinted nor asked for permission, sprinting is for young people, and permission is for people who don't belong, plus if you don't want people wandering round the field out back, move.
Another nine maidens ? really ? Is crap at counting a Cornish thing, you've got ten fingers......try again.
Never been here before and don't know anything about it, I like that.
At first glance it seems there's only four stones left of this circle, but another has been built into the adjacent wall, but only visible from the other side of it. I didn't know of the other, also built into the wall but closer to the house, probably from the second circle. Drat I'll have to go back for a longer look. When I learned more of these ruined circles I realised that I did know of these stones after all they're in Burls guide of stone circles but named as Wendron.

Trewardreva Fogou — Images

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Carwynnen Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

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After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website seven years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: